CU Games of the Day – October 7th

October 7th … CU has an 2-3 record on this date over the past 40 years … 1989: No. 3 CU races out to a 35-0 halftime lead over Missouri, settling for a 49-3 rout … 1995: Fourth-ranked Buffs lose their chance at a national title with a 40-24 loss to No. 24 Kansas … 2000: True freshman quarterback Craig Ochs led Colorado to a 26-19 upset win over Texas A&M at College Station … 2006: Colorado fell to 0-6 under new head coach Dan Hawkins, falling to Baylor in three overtimes, 34-31 … 2017: Kahlil Tate set an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback, going for 327 yards and four touchdowns (on only 14 carries), leading Arizona to a 45-42 victory in Boulder

  • 1989: No. 3 Colorado 49, Missouri 3 … Darian Hagan rushed for106 yards and completed all six of his passes for another 156 yards, all in the first half … Essay: “Taking Aim at No. 1” … A sell-out crowd treated to dominating win, with CU getting its first couple of first place votes in the following week’s AP poll …
  • 1995: No. 24 Kansas 40, No. 4 Colorado 24 … CU’s first loss to Kansas in Boulder since 1984 keeps the Buffs from a showdown with Nebraska for a chance at the Fiesta Bowl and a national championship game … 
  • 2000: Colorado 26, Texas A&M 19 … In becoming just the second true freshman quarterback in CU history to post a win in his first career start (Marc Walters being the other) Ochs passed for one touchdown and ran for another as Colorado won its first game of the 2000 season …
  • 2006: Baylor 34, Colorado 31, 3OT … In the longest game in Colorado history, the Buffs suffered its tenth-straight loss, tying the 1963-64 teams for the worst stretch in school history … Essay: “Mid-Season Report” …  Dan Hawkins opened his first season 0-6. What do you think his mid-season grades looked like? …
  • 2017: Arizona 45, Colorado 42 … “Could someone please tackle No. 14 [Khalil Tate] for Arizona?”, joked CU head coach Mike MacIntyre after the game, though no Buff fans were laughing … Essay: “Broken” … For the CU football program, the Arizona contest was a “make-or-break” game.  Consider the Buffs broken. …

Check out the stories for all five games below …

October 7, 1989 – Boulder            No. 3 Colorado 49, Missouri 3

Missouri head coach Bob Stull spent ten years as an assistant to Washington head coach Don James before taking over for the Tigers in 1989.  “It’s amazing to see they scored (45) against the Huskies out there”, said Stull the week before the Colorado/Missouri game.  “They’re extremely strong this year.”

It took all of 34 seconds that Saturday for Stull and his Tigers to discover just how strong.

On the first play of the game, Colorado quarterback Darian Hagan connected with Jeff Campbell for 58 yards to the Missouri nine yard line.  On the next play, Hagan ran the ball in for a 7-0 Colorado lead with 14:26 still to play in the first quarter.  By the end of the first stanza, the score stood at Colorado 21, Missouri 0, as Hagan scored twice more, on a two-yard run midway through the first quarter, and an eight yard run just two minutes later.

By halftime, the score was 35-0, Buffs.  Most of the first line players sat out the second half as Colorado cruised to a 49-3 final score.

In one half worth of work, Hagan ran for 106 yards and completed all six of his passes for another 156 yards.  In all, the Buffs amassed 595 of total yards; 401 in the first half.  Joining Hagan in the onslaught was Eric Bieniemy, who had 116 yards, including a 26-yard run to put the Buffs up, 35-0, late in the second quarter.

While the Colorado offense was in high gear, enough could not be said about the Colorado defense.

Missouri was held to just 16 yards rushing, and could only muster a third quarter field goal in the rout. The rushing mark was the best effort for a Colorado defense since the Buffs had set a school record in 1975 by “holding” Wichita State to a minus-40 yards rushing.

Taking Aim at  No. 1

With the Missouri rout, the Colorado Buffaloes were now 5-0 on the 1989 season.  The big win was enough to persuade two Associated Press pollsters to vote Colorado as the best team in the nation.  This vote represented the first time since 1977 that the Buffs had received a vote as the No. 1 team in the nation (October 10, 1977 – the 5-0 Buffs received one vote. The following weekend, the No. 3 Buffs were tied by Kansas, 17-17, and fell to 7th in the polls).

Notre Dame, which was still solidly entrenched as the nation’s No. 1 team with 54 votes, lost three votes from the previous week despite a 27-17 win over Stanford.  The other defecting writer went with Miami, which now had four first place votes and remained No. 2 after routing Cincinnati, 56-0.

While Colorado was a national story, even winning the Big Eight was not a guarantee. Hot on the Buffs’ tails was Nebraska, which remained at No. 4 after mauling Kansas State, 58-7.

How good were these Buffs?  Missouri had now played both Colorado and Miami.  Cornerback Otis Smith of the Tigers, who had been on the field when Miami defeated Missouri, 38-7, two weeks before the Colorado/Missouri game, gave the nod to the Buffs.  “My own belief is that Colorado is way better than Miami,” said Smith after the 49-3 pasting.  “They’re faster, bigger, stronger and a better team overall.”

Games against Iowa State (3-2, which included wins over Ohio University and Tulane) and Kansas (2-3, with the Jayhawks’ only wins coming over Montana State and Kent State) were all that were between the Buffs and consecutive games against ranked Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State.  “Focus” was again the watchword in Boulder.  Colorado players could not afford a loss to the lesser Big Eight teams if there was to be any chance of keeping their promise to Sal Aunese and earn a bid to the Orange Bowl.

Game Notes … 

– 51,855 were on hand to witness the Colorado rout of Missouri. The game represented the first sell-out of Folsom Field since 1987, and the largest home crowd for the Buffs against any opponent other than Nebraska or Oklahoma since the 1983 game against Notre Dame.

– Colorado had 19 first downs in the first half alone, holding the ball for almost 21 minutes.

– M.J. Nelson contributed in all facets. The senior had one rush and one catch, each for 41 yards. Nelson also had a kickoff return for 18 yards, and two punt returns for 64 yards (one of which went for Colorado season-best 57 yards).

– For the second time in 1989, and the 27th time in school history, the Buffs had two players rush for over 100 yards, with Eric Bieniemy going for 116 yards; Darian Hagan 106.

– Sophomore punter Tom Rouen was only called upon once all game, but he made his effort count, booting a 50-yarder (his Missouri counterpart had nine opportunities). Rouen would go on to average 45.86 yards per punt in 1989 (43.8 yards net). Rouen would be named a consensus All-American in 1989, joined by fellow Buffs Joe Garten and Alfred Williams.

– Senior defensive tackle Arthur Walker had only five tackles against Missouri, but he made them count, as three went for losses; two of those were sacks. For his efforts, Walker would be named Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Walker would conclude the 1989 season with 62 tackles, including seven sacks, and would be named a first-team All-Big Eight defensive performer.

– Overall, the Colorado defense against Missouri set season highs for sacks (six) and pass deflections (8).

– The win gave Colorado a five-game winning streak in the series, including successive routs (45-8 and 49-3). The Buffs still trailed badly in the overall series, 18-33-3, but finally pulled even in games played in Boulder (13-13-1).

– In Missouri’s first season under head coach Bob Stull, the Tigers only got into double digits in scoring once in the season’s first six games (a 14-10 opening game win over TCU). A 21-9 verdict over Kansas State would represent the only other win in a 2-9 season (which included a wild 46-44 loss to Kansas in the final game of the season).

October 7, 1995 – Boulder           No. 24 Kansas 40, No. 4 Colorado 24

A funny thing happened on the way to Colorado’s battle with Nebraska for the Big Eight title and the right to play in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship.

The schedule called for a game against Kansas.

The Jayhawks, the No. 24 team in the nation, came into Boulder and defeated the Buffs for the first time since 1984, taking down No. 4 Colorado, 40-24.

The Jayhawks served notice early that they were not intimidated by the Buffs or Folsom Field, scoring on a 35-yard field goal on the game’s first drive.  Colorado’s first drive stalled, and after punter Andy Mitchell’s effort was blocked and run in for a touchdown, the Buffs were quickly down 9-0 (the PAT attempt was blocked by Ryan Olson).

Five minutes into the game, Colorado was not looking like a national title contender.

The Buffs did mount a comeback, taking a 14-9 lead late in the first quarter after quarterback John Hessler connected with Rae Carruth (for a 58-yard score) and Chris Anderson (from 17 yards out). Early in the second quarter, though, the Jayhawks retook the lead on a four-yard run.

A CU drive late in the second quarter stalled at the Kansas two yard line, with the Buffs settling for a 19-yard Neil Voskeritchian field goal. The 17-16 Buff lead did not stand up, as the Jayhawks completed an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a two yard touchdown run by June Henley to take a 23-17 halftime advantage.

A key play took place early in the third quarter.

Colorado took the second half kickoff and drove to the Kansas seven yard line in just five plays. Looking to seize momentum, Herchell Troutman fumbled, one of four turnovers on the afternoon. The Buffs did take a 24-23 lead later in the third quarter on a 23-yard scoring pass from Hessler to Troutman, but the remainder of the game was all Kansas, with the Jayhawks out-scoring the Buffs 17-0 over the last 17 minutes of the contest to post a 40-24 victory.

The vaunted Buffs’ defense, which had throttled previous opponents, was dissected for 495 yards of total offense and 34:25 of playing clock.  Running back June Henley ran over and around the Buffs for 137 yards and two scores, while quarterback Mark Williams completed 25 passes for 299 yards and a game-sealing touchdown pass with 9:27 left in the fourth.

What was worse for the Buffs was that Koy Detmer was lost for the season during the game.  After June Henley had rambled through the defense for a 43-yard touchdown and a 33-24 Jayhawk lead, Neuheisel inserted Detmer to try and provide the Buffs with a spark.  Detmer had some early success before throwing an interception which led to the Jayhawks’ final score.  On the third play of the Buffs’ next drive, Detmer went down, this time for the season.

“My hat’s off to the Kansas team and the coaching staff”, said a diplomatic Neuheisel after the game.  “We’ll have to rise up and play outstanding football the rest of the way.”

What else was there to say?

Neuheisel had tasted defeat for the first time in his coaching career, falling to 5-1 on the season, 1-1 in Big Eight play.  Detmer was gone for the year, and Nebraska loomed on the horizon.

Colorado now had a bye week on the calendar before facing Iowa State.  Colorado fell from 4th to 9th in the polls after the loss, and was now sandwiched between No. 8 Kansas State and the new No. 10, Kansas.

The Buffs needed the rest.  It was now time to refocus and establish a new set of goals for the season.

 Game Notes … 

– CU out-gained Kansas, 510-495, marking just the second time since 1985 in which the Buffs lost a game in which the offense generated at least 500 yards of total offense.

– The win by the Jayhawks broke a ten-g 9 game winning streak for the Buffs in the series, leaving CU with a 33-19-1 overall advantage (18-8 in games player in Boulder).

– Herchell Troutman had 14 carries for 108 yards, a career high. Troutman also had four catches for four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.

– Rae Carruth collected five passes for 148 yards and a score. The 148 yards (the most receiving yards by any Buff in a game in the 1995 season) pushed Carruth over 1,000 yards receiving for his career, only the 11th Buff in school history to accomplish that feat (Carruth would go on to finish the 1995 season with 1,008 yards receiving, just the fourth CU player with over 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Carruth would be named a first-team All-Big Eight performer, and would receive honorable mention as an All-American).

Coupled with Troutman’s 108 yards rushing, the Kansas game marked just the 15th time in school history (and the first since the 1994 Kansas game) in which CU had both a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.

– CU punter Andy Mitchell had a 73-yard punt against Kansas, which would prove to be the longest of his career.

– The 1995 season would prove to be the apex of the nine-year stint for Glen Mason as the head coach at Kansas. The Jayhawks would post an overall record of 10-2, 5-2 in Big Eight play. After a 51-30 win over UCLA in the Aloha Bowl, the Jayhawks concluded the 1995 with a No. 9 ranking.

– The Jayhawks would not sustain the momentum of 1995, however, going 4-7 in 1996, the inaugural season for the Big 12. Mason would move on to Minnesota after the 1996 season, posting an overall record of 47-54-1 in his nine years in Lawrence.

October 7, 2000 – at Texas A&M           Colorado 26, Texas A&M 19

Making his first college start, true freshman quarterback Craig Ochs led Colorado to a 26-19 upset win over Texas A&M at College Station.

In becoming just the second true freshman quarterback in CU history to post a win in his first career start (Marc Walters being the other) Ochs passed for one touchdown and ran for another as Colorado won its first game of the 2000 season.

Colorado jumped out to a 12-0 lead against the Aggies who came into the game with a 3-1 record. Ochs capped a 12-play, 94-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. A few moments later, the Buffs’ lead was up to 9-0, as the Aggies’ next possession ended with a punt … and a ball snapped out of the endzone on the punt attempt.

Following the free kick, Ochs led the CU offense on a five play drive which covered 42 yards before Mark Mariscal was called upon for a 45-yard field goal attempt. Mariscal’s kick was good, and winless Colorado had a 12-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Matters quickly unraveled late in the second quarter, though, as a blocked field goal attempt and an Ochs’ fumble led to 13 A&M points over a 1:29 span just before half. Texas A&M quarterback Mark Farris hit Robert Ferguson for a 46-yard touchdown with just 2:14 left before halftime to get the Aggies on the scoreboard. Colorado then fumbled the ball back to A&M, and the Aggies – aided by a questionable pass interference call – drove 30 yards in seven plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Richard Whitaker. Texas A&M went for a two-point conversion, but the attempt failed, leaving the teams with a 13-12 halftime score.

Rather than succumb, however, Colorado scored 14 of the game’s next 17 points, taking a 26-16 lead on two Cortlen Johnson touchdowns.

The first score came late in the third quarter on a one yard run, capping a three play drive of only four yards, set up by a blocked punt by freshman defensive end Marques Harris. The second Johnson score came after a Texas A&M field goal had cut the lead to 19-16. Ochs hooked up with Johnson for a 52-yard catch and run which put the Buffs up 26-16 early in the fourth quarter.

The game was then left to Colorado’s much maligned defense … could the 0-4 Buffs hold the lead?

After the second Johnson touchdown, the Aggies quickly drove to the Colorado five yard line before settling for a field goal to cut the Buffs’ advantage to 26-19 with 8:29 still to play. On it’s last possession, A&M drove as far as the Colorado 17-yard line. With two minutes remaining, however, a fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and Colorado had its first win of the 2000 season.

Craig Ochs passed for 239 yards for Colorado, connecting on 15-of-29 passes. Cortlen Johnson ran for 99 yards on 31 carries, including his one-yard touchdown plunge in the third quarter. Johnson also contributed two catches for 73 yards, including his 52-yard score.

“For a freshman to come in here and play like he did today showed incredible poise,” Colorado coach Gary Barnett said of Ochs. “But he’s not your average freshman. To come in here and win in these conditions in front of a hostile crowd speaks volumes for the kind of player he can be.”

Colorado was now 1-1 in Big 12 Conference play, but only 1-4 overall. Still, things were looking up. The six-week gauntlet to open the season (against five top 15 teams) was nearly over. And now, the sixth and final game of the run, this one against Texas, did not now seem to be an automatic loss.

The Longhorns had opened the 2000 campaign as one of the preseason favorites to win the Big 12 Conference, if not compete for the national championship. But Texas had been tripped up by Stanford, 27-24, the second week of the season to fall out of the top ten. Ranked 11th going into its game against 10th-ranked Oklahoma, Texas laid an egg. While Colorado was putting an end to Texas A&M’s 22-game home winning streak, undefeated Oklahoma was putting an end to Texas’ title hopes, drubbing the Longhorns, 63-14.

No one knew which teams would show up in Boulder seven days later.

Would Colorado be buoyed by its first win, or would there be a reality check applied by the Longhorns?

Would Texas be deflated …. or angry?

—-

Game Notes … 

– Ochs was only the sixth freshman to ever start a game at quarterback at Colorado, and only the third true freshman. The other two true freshman had fared well, with Marc Walters picking up a 49-3 win over Kansas State in 1986, with Koy Detmer playing to a 24-24 tie against Oklahoma in 1992.

– The victory over Texas A&M allowed Colorado to avoid only the third 0-5 start in school history.

– The win also gave Colorado a 3-1 edge in the series with Texas A&M, including a 2-0 record in games played in College Station.

– In something of an indictment of the Colorado passing game in 2000, the 52-yard touchdown catch and run by running back Cortlen Johnson was the longest scoring pass of the season for the Buffs.

– Colorado was out-gained Texas A&M, 362 yards to 351. The 362 yards of total offense surrendered, however, was the lowest total of the season for the Buff defense.

– Freshman linebacker Sean Tufts earned his first career start against Texas A&M, replacing Jashon Sykes in the lineup. Sykes, though, got the message, coming off the bench to lead the team in tackles against the Aggies, with 13. Sykes would go on to start every other game the remainder of the 2000 season, finishing second on the team in tackles (111) to Michael Lewis (117).

– After falling to the Buffs, the Aggies would right their ship … at least temporarily. Texas A&M rebounded to win its next four games to run its record to 7-2 (and a No. 23 national ranking). The Aggies then lost a tough game to No. 1 Oklahoma, 35-31, which sent the 2000 season in a different direction. Texas A&M, up to No. 21 the following week despite the loss, then lost to No. 12 Texas, 43-17, finishing the season with 43-41 loss to Mississippi State in the Independence Bowl to finish a 7-5 season with a three-game losing streak.

October 7, 2006 – Boulder           Baylor 34, Colorado 31  3OT

Colorado fell to 0-6 under new head coach Dan Hawkins, falling to Baylor in three overtimes, 34-31.

The loss was the tenth in a row for the program, tying the 1963-64 teams for the worst stretch in school history. The Buffs’ hopes of ending the streak came to an end dramatically, as Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek clinched the win with a leaping interception to bring a close to the third overtime.

The homecoming game, before a crowd of 47,065, was a microcosm of the first half of Colorado’s 2006 season. The Buffs started out well, faltered for much of the rest of the game, then came tantalizingly close to pulling out a win, falling short just as the CU faithful began to have hope of victory.

For a team which had failed to score more than 13 points in a game, and which was ranked 114th (out of 119) in the nation in scoring offense, the Buffs were remarkably successful at the outset of each game.

Of the 11 scoring drives the Buffs had mustered in their 0-5 start, four of them had come on the opening drive of the game (only failing to go 5-for-5 because a short Mason Crosby field goal attempt against Georgia was blocked).

The Buffs held true to form against the Bears, putting together an 11-play, 80-yard drive to open the game. Tailback Mell Holliday scored his first touchdown as a Buff with a 32-yard run to put the Buffs up, 7-0. The Buffs’ lead held up through the quarter as both teams moved the ball without scoring. A Baylor drive deep into Colorado territory was cut short by an interception by Terrence Wheatley, the first of two on the day for the junior cornerback.

Still, the Buffs could not capitalize.

An interception thrown by quarterback Bernard Jackson, the first of three, set up the Bears in Colorado territory. The Colorado defense held Baylor without a first down, but the Bears did post a field goal to pull within four points, 7-3. A second interception of Jackson was followed by a long touchdown drive, with a 17-yard pass from Shawn Bell to Trey Payne giving Baylor a 10-7 halftime lead.

Just as it appeared that the Buffs were in for a long afternoon after a brilliant start, the Bears handed the struggling Buffs a break. Baylor fumbled the second half kickoff, giving Colorado the ball at the Bear 18-yard line. The Buffs were unable to capitalize, though, as three plays netted zero yards, and reliable Mason Crosby missed a 36-yard field goal attempt.

The resilient Buffs, though, were not quite ready to give up, bouncing back twice in the second half. Late in the third quarter, Colorado put together a 66-yard drive, with Crosby successful from 44 yards out to tie the score at 10-all. The Bears, though, countered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by a 28-yard scoring run by Paul Mosley.

What should have ended the game did not, as Colorado, which had posted a total of one second half touchdown all season, strung together a 12-play, 80-yard drive. Junior tailback Byron Ellis finished off the drive with his first score of the season, a nine-yard run. The 17-17 score carried the teams into overtime.

Baylor had the first possession, scoring on a one yard run by Mosley. Colorado countered in its first overtime possession with a 10-yard scoring pass from Jackson to tight end Riar Geer, marking the first Colorado touchdown pass of the season.

The second overtime gave Colorado the ball first. The Buffs wasted no time, with Hugh Charles scoring on a 25-yard run to give Colorado a 31-24 lead. The Bears also converted, but needed more drama. The Buffs were one play away from victory, with the Bears facing a fourth-and-seven at the CU ten yard line. Quarterback Shawn Bell, though, was able to hit Trent Shelton for a ten yard touchdown to tie the score at 31-all.

The Buffs held the Bears out of the endzone to open the third overtime, but Baylor did connect on a 22-yard field goal to go up, 34-31. A touchdown play away from victory (and with Mason Crosby available to tie the score on fourth down), Bernard Jackson threw his third interception of the day, sealing the Buffs’ fate for yet another week.

“We were just trying to make something happen,” said Jackson of his game-ending interception. “I just threw a bad ball. It hurts and its tough. Especially losing the way we did. I wish we could have pulled it off, but we just have to bounce back and look forward to next week.”

Head coach Dan Hawkins tried to be philosophical. “Ultimately, life comes down to some values and morals,” said Hawkins, loser of six games at the Buff helm after losing only 11 times in five seasons at Boise State. “No matter what happens, we’ve got out pride and our dignity and integrity, and we’re going to continue to do things right.”

With the Buffs’ tenth loss in a row, the 2005-06 streak was already in the record books, standing alongside the 1963-64 teams. How long the streak would continue, though, was a matter of speculation. Texas Tech was the Buffs’ next opponent. The Red Raiders had been ranked earlier in the season, but had been shocked by TCU, 12-3, to fall out of the national spotlight. Texas Tech would come to Boulder with a 4-2 record, 1-1 in conference play after falling to Missouri, 38-21.

To beat the Red Raiders, the Buffs would have to play ball-control offense and defend against the pass.

These traits were not the strong suit of the 2006 Colorado Buffs.

Mid-Season Report Card

The loss to Baylor left the Buffs at 0-6 for only the second time in school history, matching the inglorious start of the 1980 team.

I was a freshman at Colorado in 1980 when the Buffs opened the year 0-7. At the time, I didn’t know that the Buffs had been, or ever would be, any good, so losing was not something I was unaccustomed to when I walked the short distance from Libby Hall to the stadium on gamedays. Our group form the dorm still managed to have fun at the games, amusing ourselves watching the frat boys engage in paper fights, or participating in “passing up” girls who naively walked along the bottom row of the student section (some were not so naïve).

A quarter of a century later, having inhaled the sweet aroma of success in previous seasons, the game itself was the draw to Folsom Field, and the infamous record was painful to take.

Unlike the 1980 Buffs, the 2005-06 Buff teams were relatively talented, and – until early November, 2005, at least – relatively successful. The 2006 Buffs were tantalizingly close to several wins, having been just a play away from victory several times. Colorado was just a play away from avoiding the atrocious upset to Montana State until a late fumble put the game away. The Buffs had just been a play away from defeating Colorado State the entire second half. The Georgia game had been the most painful, with the Buffs leading until only 46 seconds remained. Now the Baylor game had put a fresh coat of pain on the losing streak.

How to judge the 2006 Buffs?

It was hard not to like Dan Hawkins personally. You had to believe that he had the right ideas and the right temperament to be successful at Colorado. Still, you had to wonder how long it would take for Hawkins to turn his vision into success on the field.

The calling card for Hawkins had been his offenses. Averaging over 40 points/game at Boise State, his “just score” scheme seemed to be a breath of fresh air for those frustrated by Gary Barnett’s sluggish offenses.

The reality:

– None of the three candidates for quarterback immediately stepped forward in the spring or fall camps, leading the Buff ship without a rudder. Bernard Jackson, replacing first game starter Brian Cox, made strides over the course of the opening six weeks, but the lack of preparation over his first two seasons, when he was bounced around several positions, had the junior making freshman mistakes. Grade: D.

– The offensive line, thought to be a strength, was woefully thin and porous. When Remington Award candidate Mark Fenton went down, the struggling Buff line showed its lack of depth. Grade: D+

– The running back by committee approach had begun to show some promise as the season wore on, but the lack of consistency continued to work against the Buffs. Grade: C-.

– The passing game, known to be a weakness, did not disappoint. The Buffs, heading into the Baylor game, were 113th in passing offense, 115th in passing efficiency. The first touchdown pass of the season came in the first overtime of the Baylor game. Enough said. Grade: F.

While there was some anticipation that the offense would struggle early on, it was equally well anticipated that the defense would carry the Buffs through the first part of the year.

The reality:

– The rush defense had been the most effective unit on the team, with the Buffs ranking in the top 20 in the nation in rushing defense. Still, that same defense gave up 110 yards rushing to a Baylor team which had been averaging a paltry 27.4 yards/game, dead last in the nation. Grade: C-.

– The pass defense was a known liability. The numbers bore this out. Before surrendering 272 yards passing to Baylor, Colorado was already 98th in the nation in pass defense and 99th in pass efficiency defense. This with pass happy Texas Tech coming to Boulder next. Grade: D.

– The special teams were supposed to be a mixed bag. The starting punter was not decided upon until the second game, when freshman Matt DiLallo won the job. Other than a fumble against Missouri which led to a back-breaking touchdown, DiLallo had been solid if unspectacular. Senior kicker Mason Crosby, though, was supposed to be spectacular. Through six games, though, he was a modest 8-of-13, including two misses under 40 yards. The rest of the special team play was atrocious, with the Buffs ranking no higher than 88th in the nation in net punting, punt returns, punt return yardage defense, kickoff returns, or kickoff return yardage defense. This was supposed to be a Hawkins’ specialty. Grade: D-.

Overall, while I still remained in the Hawkins camp midway through the 2006 season, each week brought about new frustrations and renewed fears that the Buffs would be out of the national spotlight for years to come.

Mid-season overall Grade: F.

The bottom line was that, despite the goodwill Hawkins brought to Colorado, there were still no wins in the record book.

Perhaps a quote by senior tailback Mell Holliday best summed up my mood. After the Missouri loss, Holliday was asked how the losing affected him and the team. “It builds character,” said Holliday, “after it’s finished stinking.”

Game Notes …

– The overtime loss gave CU a 3-4 overall record in overtime games, and was the first three-overtime game in Colorado history;

– Colorado rushed for 276 yards, the most on the ground since picking up 331 against Iowa State in 2002. The 276 yards rushing, though, was off-set by posting only 75 yards passing;

– The 31 points were the most by Colorado in 2006 season, and the most since putting up 41 in the Buffs’ most recent win, a 41-12 triumph over Missouri in the eighth game of the 2005 campaign;

– The road win was just the second for Baylor as a member of the Big 12, giving the Bears a 2-39 road record in conference play;

– Senior Nick Holz earned his first career start at wide receiver against Baylor. Holz finished the 2006 season with three catches for 29 yards. The other Buff in the starting lineup for the first time was Maurice Cantrell. The sophomore fullback would go on to post five starts during the 2006 season, but never got to carry the ball (he did have two catches the following week against Texas Tech, going for 38 total yards);

– The win over Colorado gave Baylor a 3-3 record overall, and a 2-0 record in Big 12 play. The win over the Buffs, though, proved to be a high-water mark for the Bears, as Baylor would go on to lose five of its last six games to finish the 2006 season with a 4-8 record.

October 7, 2017 – Boulder           Arizona 45, Colorado 42

Kahlil Tate set an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback, going for 327 yards and four touchdowns (on only 14 carries), leading Arizona to a 45-42 victory in Boulder. Tate was also almost perfect through the air, completing 11-of-12 passes for 142 yards and another touchdown.

The loss wasted the efforts of senior running back Phillip Lindsay. On a night when Lindsay became CU’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards, Lindsay had 41 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns. Steven Montez went 19-for-32 for 251 yards and three touchdowns, including two to tight end Chris Bounds.

The teams were close in total yards (Arizona 567; Colorado 551) and first downs (Colorado 29; Arizona 25), but the Buffs committed 12 penalties for 110 yards … and couldn’t tackle Kahlil Tate, who didn’t even start the game.

“Could someone please tackle No. 14 [Khalil Tate] for Arizona?”, joked CU head coach Mike MacIntyre after the game, though no Buff fans were laughing. “That was the difference in the football game. He was amazing. He should be National Player of the Week. He’s a phenomenal player.”

Continue reading Game story here

Broken … 

For the CU football program, the Arizona contest was a “make-or-break” game.

Consider the Buffs broken.

Broken promises … 

This fall, the defending Pac-12 South champions were not picked to repeat as division winners.

But no one thought they would be this bad.

— The offensive line play has been awful.

We were told that the offensive line would be a strength this fall, not a weakness.

We were misled.

“I’ve said it a few times, this is the best offensive line we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Mike MacIntyre this August.

And it wasn’t just MacIntyre.

“It’s as good as we’ve had for a while,” running backs coach Darian Hagan said of the offensive line. “You look up there and you see really good athleticism, guys that are smart, guys that are maulers. In this conference, if you don’t have a mauler up front, then you’re going to struggle. Our guys, we have confidence in them.”

In six games, the Buffs have tried four different lineups along the offensive line. Colorado gave up four sacks to an Arizona defense which was 96th in the nation in sacks coming into the game.

The offense did produce 42 points and 551 yards, which is nothing to be upset about, but there was the feeling right from the start that whatever CU’s offense could produce, it wasn’t going to be enough.

Which leads us to …

— The defensive line for Colorado is worse than the offensive line.

Continue reading Game Essay here

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